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Jack Hannaford, The Endless Tale

The Endless Tale

In the Far East there was a Great King who had no work to do. Every day, and all day long, he sat on soft cushions and listened to stories. And no matter what the story was about, he never grew tired of hearing it, even though many of the stories took hours to complete. “There is only one fault with your story,” he often said, “it is too short.” All the storytellers in the world were invited to his palace; and some of them told stories that were very long indeed.

But The King was always sad when the story ended. At last he sent a message to every city and town, offering a prize to any one able to tell him an endless tale. He said: “To the man that will tell me a story which lasts forever, I will give my daughter as his wife; and I will make him my heir, and he shall be king after me.” But this challenge wasn't quite what it seemed. The King added a strict condition. “If any man tries to tell such a story and fails, then his head will be cut off.”

The King's daughter was very beautiful, and many young men in The Kingdom were willing to do anything to win her. But none of them wanted to lose his head, and so only a few tried for the prize. One young man invented a story that lasted three months; but after that, he could think of nothing more. His fate was a warning to others, and it was a long time before another storyteller was daring enough to take the King's challenge.

One day a Stranger from the South came to The Palace. “Great king,” he said, “is it true that you offer a prize to the man who can tell a story that has no end?” “It is true,” said The King. “And will this man have your daughter for his wife, and will he be your heir?” “Yes, if he succeeds,” said The King, “but if he fails, he will lose his head.” “Very well, then,” said the Stranger. “I have a pleasant story about locusts.” “Tell it,” said The King. “I will listen to you.”

The storyteller began his story. “Once upon a time a certain king seized all the corn in his country, and stored it in a strong granary, but a swarm of locusts came over the land and saw where the grain was stored. After searching for many days, the locusts found a small crack on the east side of the granary, but the opening was just large enough for one locust at a time to pass through. So, one locust went in and carried away a grain of corn; then another locust went in and carried away a grain of corn; then another locust went in and carried away a grain of corn.”

Day after day, week after week, the Stranger kept on saying, “Then another locust went in and carried away a grain of corn.” A month passed. A year passed. After two years, The King asked, “How much longer will the locusts be going in and carrying away corn?” “Oh, King!" said the Stranger, “the locusts have only cleared a few inches, and there are thousands of inches in the granary."

“Man, man!" cried The King, “You will drive me mad. I can listen to it no longer. Take my daughter, be my heir, and rule my Kingdom, but do not let me hear another word about those incessant locusts!" So, the Stranger married The King's daughter and lived happily in the land for many years; however, his father-in-law, The King, did not care to listen to any more stories.


The Endless Tale The Endless Tale

In the Far East there was a Great King who had no work to do. No Extremo Oriente, havia um Grande Rei que não tinha trabalho a fazer. Every day, and all day long, he sat on soft cushions and listened to stories. Todos os dias, e durante todo o dia, ele se sentava em almofadas macias e ouvia histórias. And no matter what the story was about, he never grew tired of hearing it, even though many of the stories took hours to complete. E não importava do que se tratava a história, ele nunca se cansava de ouvi-la, embora muitas das histórias levassem horas para serem concluídas. “There is only one fault with your story,” he often said, “it is too short.” All the storytellers in the world were invited to his palace; and some of them told stories that were very long indeed. “Há apenas uma falha em sua história”, ele costumava dizer, “é muito curta”. Todos os contadores de histórias do mundo foram convidados ao seu palácio; e alguns deles contavam histórias que eram realmente muito longas.

But The King was always sad when the story ended. Mas o Rei sempre ficava triste quando a história terminava. At last he sent a message to every city and town, offering a prize to any one able to tell him an endless tale. Por fim, ele enviou uma mensagem a todas as cidades e vilas, oferecendo um prêmio a qualquer um capaz de lhe contar uma história sem fim. He said: “To the man that will tell me a story which lasts forever, I will give my daughter as his wife; and I will make him my heir, and he shall be king after me.” But this challenge wasn't quite what it seemed. Ele disse: “Ao homem que me contar uma história que dura para sempre, darei minha filha por esposa; e eu farei dele meu herdeiro, e ele será rei depois de mim. ” Mas esse desafio não era bem o que parecia. The King added a strict condition. “If any man tries to tell such a story and fails, then his head will be cut off.” “Se qualquer homem tentar contar tal história e falhar, sua cabeça será cortada.”

The King's daughter was very beautiful, and many young men in The Kingdom were willing to do anything to win her. But none of them wanted to lose his head, and so only a few tried for the prize. One young man invented a story that lasted three months; but after that, he could think of nothing more. Um jovem inventou uma história que durou três meses; mas depois disso, ele não conseguiu pensar em mais nada. His fate was a warning to others, and it was a long time before another storyteller was daring enough to take the King's challenge. Seu destino foi um aviso para os outros, e demorou muito para que outro contador de histórias fosse ousado o suficiente para aceitar o desafio do rei.

One day a Stranger from the South came to The Palace. “Great king,” he said, “is it true that you offer a prize to the man who can tell a story that has no end?” “It is true,” said The King. “And will this man have your daughter for his wife, and will he be your heir?” “Yes, if he succeeds,” said The King, “but if he fails, he will lose his head.” “Very well, then,” said the Stranger. "E este homem terá sua filha como esposa e será seu herdeiro?" “Sim, se ele tiver sucesso”, disse o Rei, “mas se ele falhar, ele perderá a cabeça”. “Muito bem, então”, disse o Estranho. “I have a pleasant story about locusts.” “Tell it,” said The King. “I will listen to you.” "Eu vou ouvir você."

The storyteller began his story. “Once upon a time a certain king seized all the corn in his country, and stored it in a strong granary, but a swarm of locusts came over the land and saw where the grain was stored. “Era uma vez um certo rei apreendido todo o trigo de seu país e armazenado em um celeiro forte, mas um enxame de gafanhotos veio sobre a terra e viu onde o grão estava armazenado. After searching for many days, the locusts found a small crack on the east side of the granary, but the opening was just large enough for one locust at a time to pass through. Depois de procurar por muitos dias, os gafanhotos encontraram uma pequena rachadura no lado leste do celeiro, mas a abertura era grande o suficiente para apenas um gafanhoto de cada vez passar. So, one locust went in and carried away a grain of corn; then another locust went in and carried away a grain of corn; then another locust went in and carried away a grain of corn.”

Day after day, week after week, the Stranger kept on saying, “Then another locust went in and carried away a grain of corn.” A month passed. A year passed. After two years, The King asked, “How much longer will the locusts be going in and carrying away corn?” “Oh, King!" said the Stranger, “the locusts have only cleared a few inches, and there are thousands of inches in the granary." disse o Estranho, “os gafanhotos passaram apenas alguns centímetros, e há milhares de centímetros no celeiro”.

“Man, man!" "Cara, cara!" cried The King, “You will drive me mad. I can listen to it no longer. Eu não posso ouvir mais. Take my daughter, be my heir, and rule my Kingdom, but do not let me hear another word about those incessant locusts!" So, the Stranger married The King's daughter and lived happily in the land for many years; however, his father-in-law, The King, did not care to listen to any more stories. Então, o Estranho se casou com a filha do Rei e viveu feliz na terra por muitos anos; entretanto, seu sogro, O Rei, não se importou em ouvir mais histórias.